Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day - Motorcycles Follow Me

Jane decided last night that it was time for us to attend the annual Freehold Memorial Day parade on Monday (today). The last time we went was nine years ago. Of course, we had to go early to get a good spot along Main Street. We always go early.

We took the car downtown at 8:55 a.m. and weaved around several barricades to get into the bank parking lot that was right across Main Street from where we finally ended up setting down our canvas lawn chairs. We were firmly in place and ready for the parade at 9:10 a.m. I looked up and down the street and saw only people headed for the start of the parade. Most cops were on bicycles but a couple were riding Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. I remarked to Jane that these bikes were really quiet -- I guess that is to be expected.

This is one of those times that Main Street has horses on it. More than 110 years ago, horses were common on the streets of Freehold. Horses and bicycles were the norm then. Here's one of many horses seen today.

Well, at about 10:05 a.m. we saw those motorcycle cops again. They were now leading the parade into town.

This was a very long parade. We got to see every fire truck within 25 miles of Freehold. We saw all the local politicians. Some were walking, some were riding in convertibles, and some were hiding inside air-conditioned cars. The guy sitting next to us seemed to know almost every one of these firemen and politicians by name and kept yelling out to them with inside jokes only known to them. When an antique air force plane kept flying up and down Main Street just over the treetops, he knew who the pilot was and proceeded to tell us every make and model of antique planes he owned, including one Japanese Zero. I was impressed. Jane recognized a woman from her scrapbooking group and rushed out to speak with her as the parade suddenly stopped. Other than a few politicians, I didn't know anyone here. I guess the nine years away from the parade had brought a whole new generation to march in the parade. Time was passing me by.

Then we saw the balloons.

Several floats from the Freehold First Presbyterian Church were approaching and they were covered with red, white, and blue balloons. Kids and their parents were distributing the balloons to those watching the parade.

I got a shot of the balloons up close as they passed and Jane was finally handed a balloon for herself. Balloons were seen flying out of sight overhead heading for outer space or least the nearest tall tree waiting to capture them. "God Bless Our Troops" was the message.

Then we saw motorcycles coming. They were quiet too, just like the bikes the cops were riding. They seemed to be all brands.

They were the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of New Jersey. According to their website, their chapter theme is "Authenticity" and they strive to conform to the uniform dress worn by the Buffalo Soldiers during the 1860s to 1900.

The parade was over about 11:30 a.m. when a golf cart carrying a sign that said "The End" passed by us. It was a great parade. We'll probably go next year. It's pretty much guaranteed that we'll see more motorcycles next year. We just can't get away from motorcycles, no matter how hard we try.

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